I became a fan of Girls’ Generation/SNSD somewhen in 2011.
Back then, I used to like reading the entertainment section in the newspapers and there were a few times I saw some comments saying that Singapore audience were slow in warming up during concerts as compared to audiences from other countries. Meaning we were less enthusiastic? I felt a sense of indignity as well as disappointment with the artistes and the Singapore audience when I saw these comments in the articles. Was that really the case? Were we too reserved, too proud? Or could it be that we just expressed ourselves differently in a special way? How about my idols? Had they been to Singapore already? What did they think of the Singapore audience/fans?
Curious, I did a search on YouTube for SNSD in Singapore and I realised they had visited Singapore for the first time in October 2010 to perform at a Korean Pop Night concert. It was a pity for me that I didn’t know about the concert because I wasn’t a fan yet at that time. So how did they find their Singapore fans? Were we really that bad? Were they receiving lots of love from us? With these questions in mind, I watched the fancams of their performances in that concert, trying to get some clues from their faces. Out of all the fancams that I had watched, the following two videos were the best, which captured everything perfectly from the sound, the performances, the artistes’ faces, everything that was going on onstage and even offstage (the audience’s cheers).
Hey, the audience didn’t seem too bad, did they? In fact, the audience’s response was overwhelming and warm. I could hear from the sound of their cheers especially at the start. Sound of excitement, sound of happiness, sound of delight at seeing their idols live for the first time that could not be contained. It was contagious. And then look at the artistes’ faces. They looked.. slightly taken aback. Surprised. Happy. Excited. Energised. Touched. Delighted. These are the emotions that I could tell from their facial expressions. Clearly, they were enjoying themselves very much as they performed! They were receiving the energy given by the cheering fans very well. Previously, I always thought artistes in general put a false front over themselves and hide their true emotions so that they always present themselves with a cool image. But what did I see in these videos? Raw, genuine emotions. I realised that how good the audience response was is reflective on the artistes’ faces and how well they performed. There is an interaction right there. They received the energy from their fans and they returned the same amount of energy back to the fans. It’s a give and take.
Then it suddenly dawned on me that I was no longer looking at the artistes as a regular fan anymore. I was trying to put myself in their shoes and see the world from their perspective. I wanted to understand their inner thoughts as they performed onstage. So I observed each of their faces closely and suddenly everything became on a personal intimate level. I realised that I could see through certain things, like the reasons behind their smiles and actions, even a thing or two about how their personalities might be like. There were many things going on. Interesting stuffs. Especially Taeyeon. She must have been worried over something before and during the performance. And clearly, it wasn’t actually her first time in Singapore, was it?
So what exactly were the reasons behind all their smiles that were so sincere and genuine? I’m sure up till then they had already performed for all kinds of events and concerts countless times before. What made them still feel like they were overwhelmed with emotions? I believe there must be something special about this bunch of audience and the energy they were exuding. So I turned my attention and switched my senses towards the background of the videos. Other than seeing what was going on onstage, I want to know what was going on the ground, what the audience were doing, the people whom we can’t see but can only hear in the videos. So I listened. What was there? Cheers. Screams. Fanchants. But that seems like a pretty normal kind of reactions which any fans would give right? There must be something more, something special. What was it? Closed my eyes, listened harder. OH! They were singing along too! But it wasn’t just any other ordinary singing. The singing, the sound, the tone, the natural harmony of their voices were extraordinarily beautiful! I could hear these audience singing voices in bits and pieces. Because they are softer and hidden in the background amidst all the other ongoing sounds, I had to strain my ears in order to try listen to them. But once I managed to tune in and track these background voices at certain frequency/intensity, I could hear these really nice singing voices perfectly just by altering my own sense of hearing a little.
When I began to make the effort to listen to these background voices which other Youtube viewers/listeners wouldn’t normally focus on, I was instantly drawn to the beauty of it. Why? Imagine all the natural interactions that were going on. Everything was clearly unplanned. It wasn’t like the fans had rehearsed how they were going to react to their idols during a performance. Like who were going to sing along? Who were going to do the fanchants? Who were just going to scream and cheer? All of them had a different part to play and they just did whatever they liked. I could hear all these different elements given by the fans very well. And the amazing thing is they all blended in together very well, beautifully and harmoniously. Every single cheer, every single scream was also very on-point. It was like there was an impromptu orchestra at play. The fans were forming their very own orcestra without they themselves knowing!
I was attracted to its beauty, especially when it was reflected as an enjoyment on the artistes’ faces. I would watch and listen to these fancams everyday like it was an addictive therapeutic thing to do and each time as I watched, I would think and wonder about all the mechanisms behind all these beautiful, sincere natural interactions that were going on.